Chergui - I don't get it?

justfoxie

You smell nice
Basenotes Plus
Oct 23, 2018
Or maybe its Serge Lutens's style I don't get?

but this one is often hailed around the forums as a classic tobacco. So much so that it was by far the most popular choice on tobacco day in the Friday synch thread.

I finally broke out my sample and...I'm underwhelmed. On paper anyway. I'm struggling to get excited enough to put this on skin.

I don't really get tobacco and instead I'm smelling honey and iris and something a touch citrus-ambery and maybe a bit grassy (not like vetiver can be).

Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely fragrance if a bit underwhelming (the dangers of too much hype?) But it's not tobacco to my nose.

What am I missing. Help!
 

Brooks Otterlake

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 12, 2019
Chergui is a shapeshifter that wears quite differently depending on climate conditions. Sometimes I get a lot of rose, sometimes I don't. Sometimes that iris is a big player, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes the tobacco is accessible right from the start, sometimes I don't get it until the late drydown.

I like it well enough but I don't think it's one of the best from Serge Lutens/Sheldrake; the woody molecules in the base are too exposed for my liking.

But I wouldn't write it off based on sampling on paper or even a single trial on skin.
 
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The Bark

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2003
I would never recommend it as a "tobacco" fragrance. To me, it's predominately hay and honey, followed by a mélange of ambery incense and sandalwood with a some floral (iris and rose) way in the background. The hay is reminiscent of the opening to Villoresi's Yerbamate. In hindsight, Chergui seems like a more refined predecessor to some of Slumberhouse's offerings.
 

Paddington

Marmalade Sandwich Eater
Basenotes Plus
Jun 17, 2021
What am I missing. Help!
as @hednic has mentioned everyone perceives things differently and i am one who personally takes "hyped" perfumes with a pinch of salt as its all subjective, you can try on skin if u want to see if it gets any better but I wouldn't force yourself tbh
 
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naylor

Well-known member
Oct 24, 2011
I love the house of Lutens and own about a dozen different bottles. Chergui is one that I've owned multiple times over the years and never really appreciated either. It always came across too sweet and powdery for my taste. I certainly never got the heavy-hitting tobacco scent that many others made it out to be 🤷‍♂️

If you want a Lutens tobacco, I would recommend Fumerie Turque as a superior alternative (full disclosure, however, that I haven't smelled the current formulation).
 

teardrop

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
You may get a different impression if you try it on skin.

There are different types of tobacco fragrances, of course, from the smell of fresh cigarettes to cigars or even cigarette ash. For me Chergui is redolent of cherry pipe tobacco, along with honey & hay, which l think is the "grassy" note you're picking up on. And l find it best to wear it on a late summer day when it's warm, but not too hot. lt really sings at that time of year. :)
 

aioosha

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2020
I love the house of Lutens and own about a dozen different bottles. Chergui is one that I've owned multiple times over the years and never really appreciated either. It always came across too sweet and powdery for my taste. I certainly never got the heavy-hitting tobacco scent that many others made it out to be 🤷‍♂️

If you want a Lutens tobacco, I would recommend Fumerie Turque as a superior alternative (full disclosure, however, that I haven't smelled the current formulation).
fumerie smells like actual shisha smoke on skin when the guys come back home from hanging out all night. I know that smell too good and fumerie turque is this.
 

zerofox

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 31, 2020
None of the Lutens have worked for me. I sometimes work my way through classics for reference but if I genuinely don’t like a style or house I don’t beat myself up over it. It’s my money, my time, and all the rest of the lyrics from My Prerogative. On the opposite side of that coin I own several unpopular scents that many people write they don’t get, with good reason might I add.
 

StylinLA

Well-known member
Aug 9, 2009
Your not missing anything. Not sure exactly why it doesn't work for you but I think I night share a bit of "Lutens scents don't work for me" with you.

I've tried a few Lutens and they are just not right for me. I can see why many love them. They seem to be getting harder to find in USA.
 

donna255

Well-known member
Jul 16, 2004
Chergui has been reformulated a number of times over the years. Lutens does this with all his fragrances there was a discussion about it in a thread some years back. It is never announced but with Chergui the colour of the juice gives it away. Originally a brown colour and did have a sweet honey tobacco note. My bottle is a brown/burgundy colour and still has a honey tobacco note. Then the juice sold was a red burgundy colour no idea if it still had the honey tobacco or more just a honey like note? I haven't seen a bottle or sniffed for a good few years so no idea what it is like now?
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
I’ve been mostly underwhelmed by the Lutens I’ve tried—not that I think the formulae are bad, but just not a fit for my aesthetic. For example, I found Cuir Mauresque as mystifying as a leather as you did Chergui as a tobacco. That said, I do like Encens et Lavande and La Couche du Diable, while Iris Silver Mist and De Profundis are lovely on my wife.

I’m always open to trying another: if only one in ten suits me, that’s more than enough.
 

naylor

Well-known member
Oct 24, 2011
I see. I had noticed Lucky Scent has none of their mainstays anymore. No Chergui, Ambre Sultan, Borneo 1834 etc
Yes, I believe it's because Lutens has pulled out of the US market and is no longer restocking Luckyscent or other US retailers as a result.
 

teardrop

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
Chergui has been reformulated a number of times over the years. Lutens does this with all his fragrances there was a discussion about it in a thread some years back. It is never announced but with Chergui the colour of the juice gives it away. Originally a brown colour and did have a sweet honey tobacco note. My bottle is a brown/burgundy colour and still has a honey tobacco note. Then the juice sold was a red burgundy colour no idea if it still had the honey tobacco or more just a honey like note? I haven't seen a bottle or sniffed for a good few years so no idea what it is like now?

l remember seeing some people post about a green-coloured version, as well.

Mine started out reddish-brown in colour & has turned more reddish-purple with age.

For the record, l wasn't enamoured with most of the Lutens fragrances l've tried, either. But l adore Chergui.
 

naylor

Well-known member
Oct 24, 2011
l remember seeing some people post about a green-coloured version, as well.

Mine started out reddish-brown in colour & has turned more reddish-purple with age.
Yes, there have certainly been color variations over the years. What's very interesting is that I had an original-release bottle that was very deep reddish-brown in color ... but when I held it up to he light, it turned a deep green color. Very much a shape-shifter...
 

Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
Hmmm. It might depend on which formulation you have. I had some green Chergui (palais, black label) that was thick, lush, sandalwoody hay with a tiny touch of rose. I also had several white label versions that were all tobacco and hay (except the one with reddish juice… that one was something altogether different). My bell jars were more like the black label version.

I find that the later versions of Chergui shift on one’s skin more than the earlier versions. I recall that I used to layer my white label Chergui with other SL frags to try to steady it.

It’s ok if you don’t get Chergui though. Maybe try it again on a different day and if results are the same then it wasn’t meant to be. I haven’t tried any versions after the white label one. Because there were so many reformulations, I narrowed my ‘favorite’ versions down by batch number. So I only bought the batches I liked.
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
I passed on a bottle when I finally tried it. Good fragrance, but did not show to my nose any of my favorite prominent features, including tobacco. A bit of a mish-mash of nice things, but nothing I could "wow" about.

Add to that, that the Lutens house never really grabbed me. I only own one, and it's a bit atypical - the "sport fragrance", Bois de Sepia.
 

Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
the first version looks so different! i wish i could have tried them all when they first got released. lutens stuff changes way too much
View attachment 179302

Yes, it is shockingly green… but to my nose, it smelled identical to that very early deep dark brown version. I could not tell any difference between my green rectangular bottles and my super dark brown bell jars. The green juice appeared thinner but it wasn’t scent wise. I preferred the green juice.

Another question was whether it was originally green or did it ‘turn’ green over time. Some of the early brown bottles would fade to green, so maybe SL made the next version green to start in order to cover for that. All I know is that my green juice didn’t appear lesser in any way. It was definitely stronger than the white label version.
 

Emanuel76

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2018
Serge Lutens - Chergui

1-2(maximum) sprays on the wrist, from a distance (20 cm).

I get dusty woods, leafy greenness, bug-spray/soapy/detergent/skin-cream(on your tongue) bitterness, flowers, wet hay, powdery honey, ashy-incense impression from time to time, warm animalic musk.
Not too sweet.
Scratchy.

Don't like it at all.

5/10

I have this version:


192042.jpg
 

justfoxie

You smell nice
Basenotes Plus
Oct 23, 2018
Thanks everyone for your perspectives on this one! Interesting that it is so much of a chameleon.

and just to put worries to rest - I'm not beating myself up over not loving it. It was more a "huh?!" reaction and then a desire to dig a bit deeper into other's experience while calibrating my own nose.

I actually put it on skin today as curiosity finally overcame me and it's still all honey and hay, although I'm also getting something a bit licorice like too, which maybe over time will turn into a soft leather. We'll see! I'm actually finding it quite calming after what's been a really intense sensory experience of the last few days.

I'll definitely take @teardrop's advice and put this in my "summer" bag of samples to try again then. I'll be curious to put it next to Song for a Rising Sun (which is my current favourite "hay" scent) and see how they compare.
 

Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
76A9F746-4BBD-4E88-8F8A-894C97FED29F.jpegI sold off much of my Chergui collection several years ago, but my brother bought one of my ‘green’ bottles and it now looks like this… according to him, it is as strong/ thick as the day I gave it to him.

But the color has definitely changed from the last time I saw it.
 

Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
Yup. If I stumble upon any of my old bottles of Chergui, I will give you a shout. I hoarded a bunch back in the day. These days I only wear a few frags (Egoiste, Chergui, Chene, Mona di Orio, Killian, Amb Narguille, etc) so I have enough to last me.

I detect a significant difference between post-2009 white label Chergui and pre-2009 Chergui… but it’s mostly in terms of prominent notes and sillage. Based on my records, the juice started getting thin after 2008 but was still Chergui. The one version that I did not care for is the version shown previously in this thread with the reddish-brown juice and white SL label. I always pick up a weird cinnamon / cosmetic / incense vibe in that one that I didn’t notice in the earlier versions. It is also less sweet than the other versions I’ve tried. Some folks found the earlier versions to be too sweet … I’m guessing they prefer the white label version but it wasn’t for me. It all depends on what you like.
 

herman_merveilles

New member
Dec 31, 2021
Chergui is one of my fiance's favorites -- he doesn't always comment when I wear perfume but he compliments Chergui every time. I'm a huge fan of Serge Lutens in general; really sad to hear they're discontinuing in the U.S. :(
 

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